Environmental factors, such as ambient temperature (T), feather cover (FC), and housing system (HS), probably affect energy requirements of laying hens. Using a 3 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement, interaction effects of T (11, 16, and 21°C), FC (100 and 50%), and HS (cage and floor housing) on energy partitioning and performance of laying hens were investigated. Six batches of 70 H&N Brown Nick laying hens, divided over 2 respiration chambers, were exposed to the T levels in three 2-wk periods. Heat production (HP) was determined by indirect calorimetry. The ME intake was calculated by subtracting energy in manure/litter from that in feed and wood shavings. The NE was calculated by subtracting HP from ME. The ME intake increased by 1% for each degree reduction in T. In hens with intact plumage, HP was not affected by T, whereas at decreasing T, HP increased in hens with 50% FC (P <0.01). At 21°C, HP was not affected by HS, whereas in the floor system, HP at 16 and 11°C was 5.8 and 3.0% higher, respectively, than in cages (P <0.05). The NE for production was 25.7% higher in cages compared to the floor system (P <0.05). In cages, 24.7% of NE for production was spent on body fat deposition, whereas in the floor system, 9.0% of NE for production was released from body fat reserves. The ME intake was predicted by the equation (R2 = 0.74) ME intake (kJ/d) = 612 BW0.75 – (8.54 × T) + (28.36 × ADG) + (10.43 × egg mass) – (0.972 × FC). Hen performances were not affected by treatments, indicating the adaptive capacity of young laying hens to a broad range of environmental conditions.
- residual feed consumption